The first encounter with Stuttgart’s baby SUV is on Austrian snow. We do our Mercedes Benz GLA Review to find out if the ingredients for success are all there.
It’s the usual script, typical of these vaguely clandestine encounters – the satellite navigation takes you on increasingly less-travelled roads, dozens of kilometres out in the middle of nowhere, and finally you arrive in what seems like Area 51, Mercedes style. For discretion (besides the documents we had to sign) we can’t be more precise. Let’s just say that we’re in the middle of deep Austrian snow country, 2,200 meters above sea level. We barely get the time to park and the GLA is already there, sans-camouflage, and with the ignition running. It’s true that the images have already been released, but automakers are in the habit of not using ‘clean’ models until the actual presentation – they want to prevent indiscreet eyes from taking photos that differ from the original ones. Well, let’s get on board.
In control of the situation
The research and development engineer rockets off, just in time for us to notice that the interiors display a strong kinship with those of the A-Class (the differences are noticeable, here and there, on closer inspection), and we’re already on a tortuous and sloping track. Fresh and well-beaten snow – there’s a bit of everything on the road, but the GLA, according to our Mercedes Benz GLA Review, moves with great control. It’s a 250 4Matic and it climbs effortlessly with its all-wheel drive functioning to perfection – as with the CLA (refer to the box on the right), the rear wheels come into play only when necessary. The electronics also help – the ABS and ESP modify their strategies according to the low grip, while, when it’s time to descend, the DSR (Downhill Speed Regulator) kicks in, keeping the pace steady even on the steepest slopes. In spite of not having the feel of an SUV, the GLA seems to have full control on the snow-covered roads, and, on the fastest parts of the track, it exudes agility and manoeuvrability. In other words, from what we’ve gathered by being mere passengers during our Mercedes GLA Review, this evolution into an SUV has not meant a loss of any of the driving freshness so distinct to the A-Class.
A charge of sportsmanship
The horizontal headlights, the pronounced contours on the sides, and a height of less than a metre-and-a-half make the GLA firmly planted on the ground
The GLA has a strong, but pleasant, personality. It does nothing to disguise its ties to the A-Class, which are more than evident
CLA 250 4Matic
ALL-WHEEL DRIVE ARRIVES FOR THE SEDAN
In Mercedes, there are no more than sixty all-wheel drive vehicles – so the ‘small’ coupe-sedan definitely couldn’t stay out of the game. For its debut, we can only predict a 211bhp 2-litre turbo petrol, coupled to the classic torque on demand traction system (same as the one found on the GLA), with a multi-plate clutch (integrated into the rear differential), which allows the rear wheels to come into play as soon as the front ones start to skid.
1,991cc, 4-cylinder turbo petrol
211bhp at 5,500rpm
350Nm from 1,200 to 4,000rpm
7-speed dual-clutch gearbox
Max speed 230km/h
Average fuel consumption: 15.4km/l
Length: 4,417mm, width: 1,804mm, height: 1,494mm
Later this year
Audi Q3, BMW X1
© Riproduzione riservata